Steve Clarke's got plenty of options for Reading clash

Steve Clarke has the perfect opportunity to prove our brilliant start was no fluke when Reading come to town tomorrow, writes West Brom blogger Jarrod Hill.


The comedy of errors (horror show may be more apt) at Fulham was Steve`s first defeat since taking the reins at the Hawthorns and he will be keen to bounce straight back.

I along with everybody else watched in horror as Peter Odemwingie lashed out after totally losing his cool. He was having a bit of a stinker up to that point and his lash out looked to stem from pure frustration, but that certainly doesn’t justify his game changing mistake.

Peter has become a bit of hero at the Hawthorns but his recent media remarks, his disagreement with Roy Hodgson last season and Saturdays sending off are beginning to get on the breasts of many an Albion fan. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Albion hierarchy are already lining up potential suitors for his services in January and although I rate the player, maybe the timing would be right. This is no knee jerk reaction to one incident, I just feel that with other players at our disposal and a new and relatively in experienced head coach in place we need to ensure the dressing room stays free of trouble makers.

His suspension leaves a void to fill in the team, and there are a number of options available to Steve Clarke.

Personally I would prefer to see Chris Brunt playing on the left wing, I think he offers more defensively and is reliably consistent. He can also contribute from set pieces and having warmed the bench for the first few games of the season he must be itching to get involved. We also have Graham Dorrans, Yassine El Ghannassy, and Zoltan Gera to pick from, so the cupboard is hardly bare.

I will be interested to see who gets to start against Reading tomorrow. Billy Jones had a torrid game last week and with all three goals coming from the right side of defence Steve Clarke must be assessing his options. Right back is probably our weakest position within the squad, Steven Reid is injury prone, and Billy Jones and Gonzalo Jara are still too inconsistent to demand a regular starting berth.

Yet our head coach does have a number of options in all other positions and he has some tough decisions to make. There are players such as Zoltan Gera who has featured less than I imagined he would, and up front we have Romelu Lukaku who seems to be bursting at the seems to play. I think Steve Clarke has a tough choice and some difficult decisions to make for tomorrows game, and although I have refrained from doing so this season I have decided to give you who I would choose in my starting eleven.

I would go with a 4-5-1 formation. My defence would be Foster-Ridgewell-Olsson-McAuley-Reid (if fit). My midfield would be Brunt (wide left)-Mulumbu (centre)- Yacob (centre)-Gera (wide right)- Morrison (front centre).

My lone forward would be Romelu Lukaku, I think its time to see if this boy can start a game as well as he comes off the bench.

My subs would be Myhill-Jones-Dawson-Dorrans-Long-Rosenberg-Fortune.

If we can get control of the midfield and get the ball to our dangerous forward players on a regular basis I believe we will win the game. Reading have taken only one point from their first three games and if their confidence is faltering then we need to take advantage of it and an early goal would be ideal.

I managed to watch most of Reading’s game with Tottenham last week and I must admit I thought Reading looked to be struggling. However we all know there are no easy games in the Premier League, well not since Wolves were relegated anyway, and being an Albion fan I don’t expect us to do anything the easy way.

Just as we are looking at Reading as the perfect opportunity to continue our 100% home record, they too will be looking at us as an opportunity to get their first win of the season. Reading have some good players and with Nicky Shorey returning for the first time since his departure I am sure he will be looking to put one over on his old employers. I just hope it is Shane Long who has the bragging rights over his old team mates come 5pm Saturday and that Steve Clarke has navigated his team round a potential banana skin and three points have been safely deposited in our Premier League vault.

Come on you Baggies.

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Comments for: "Steve Clarke's got plenty of options for Reading clash"


I couldn't agree more, I think PO's days are numbered, not because of last Saturday's performance, but the fact that he has made it no secret of his desire to move, and the fact that he really isn't a team player. He has been brilliant for us in the past, but only when he has a mind to be! No one player is bigger than the rest of the team. The sooner we get a top class right back the better! Billy Jones is great going forward, but his lack of man marking and his tendency to "Ball watch" needs to be addressed. With both teams looking to bounce back after disappointing results last time out, I predict a good game, with Albion just coming out on top, as we have home advantage, and our midfield and attack should have too much strength and ability for a Reading side that will be nervous!

Shirley Baggie

I wasn't at Fulham as i was on holiday but i understand it was pretty awful! I also saw Reading play Spurs on TV last week and i thought Reading looked susceptible to pace at the back. Based on that, i agree with your team selection apart from i would like to see some real pace outwide, especially on the right against Harte who couldn't handle Lennon. I would, therefore, be interested in seeing Lukaku against Harte, with Gera on the other side, Long through the middle and Brunt on the bench. Not sure if Lukaku has/can play wide so maybe it would be a bit of a gamble, but i think we really need to take it to Reading and try and get the first goal so they don't get their tails up.

As for Mr Odemwingie, he was clearly a bit of a plonker against Fulham and there is no excuse for what he did and we are getting punished for it with him missing for 2 big games against Reading on Villa. However, as for selling him in January, i can't agree with that. There are always going to be difficult characters in all dressing rooms and it is part of being a manager that you have to mange those characters, especially when one of them has scored 25 goals in 2 seasons for us.

CantelloRocket 78

Morning Jarrod,

first off,thanks for doin' the blog,I know you're a very busy man but some of the guys have mentioned in the past how much they look forward to your 'literacy gems'.

There are certain points you mention that stand out-in particular,the options we have in the squad,but at the same time,Steve Clarke is still relatively inexperienced in his role,and has only been in charge for 5 minutes.

It crossed my mind that a new manager/coach will want to build and shape the squad in his own personal way,and most of the players were here before he arrived,so it'll be interesting to see which of those players figure in his long-term plans.Maybe we'll get a few clues as the season moves forward,and over the next season or two,who knows,there could be a very different look to the squad.

As for now,3 points tomorrow and we're back chasing a Champion's League spot,better update me passport........:)


Agree with Shirley re out wide. I'd like to see some pace on at least one side.

Amongst the debacle at Fulham, Rosenberg impressed me during his 15 mins on the field. Some nice touches and movement in difficult circumstances. I can't help but think he may be the best option as a loan forward at some point, especially away from home. Unfortunately, unless he's really on his game, the ball simply doesn't stick at Long's feet.

In the mean time, Lukaku deserves a chance to start. Although I love the prospect of bringing him on when defences are tired (thanks to Shane), his hunger and desire to date deserves to be rewarded.

I'm nervous about Saturday. This is the best Albion squad in my lifetime and I'm confident we'll continue to do well this season, but Reading enjoy playing at the Hawthorns. It will also be the first game where Clarkey and the boys are weighed down by expectation.

Regardless, I'm looking forward to it. Selection headaches - Long, Lukaku or Rosenberg; Fortune, Dorrans, Brunt or Gera - were situations we could only dream of a few years back.

Boing Boing


Hi Jarrod - good blogg and considering our last game was a defeat remarkably upbeat !!!!

Got to agree with Shirley regards PO - he is a different type of character to many of our other players but his goals record makes it worth the effort to accomodate him - and as for selling him in january..... we may possibly lose Lukaku if Chelsea decided to recall him and a forward line without those 2 looks a very different prospect.

I'm sure its something the club may consider but maybe based more on his age that his sending off - and only if Dan has another gem up sleeve.

CantelloRocket 78


it's funny you mention the striker situation,because I was thinking the same thing recently.

It's been said elsewhere that Chelsea might be able to recall Lukaku,and when we look at the other options,I'm a big fan of Shane Long,but he's a hard running direct player who doesn't have the same 'different' qualities of P.O.,we then have MAF and Rosenberg,with neither one being a particularly prolific scorer.

I do get frustrated with Pete's attitude,but he always seems friendly and relaxed in interviews,SC made the effort to persuade him to stay at the Baggies,and the guy can win us many valuable points over the season with his goals.

Steven Fletcher scores a similar amount of goals as Pete,and he was recently sold for around 14 mil.

How much would we have to pay to replace him? At least it's worth thinking about before acting rashly.

Robin Brittain

I am glad that you have brought some sense to the topic. All this criticism of Peter Odemwingie is ridiculous. The guy may have a few issues but that's not unusual with modern day footballers and their agents, but his record speaks for itself. Let's get him back scoring the goals we know he can. You are right Cantello it would cost an absolute fortune to replace him. The last thing we need to do is to sell our better players.

Brummie roader Ryan

My team for tommorow- Dont know if it will publish with the formation in order but ill give it a go.


Reid- McAuley- Ollson- Ridgwell

Yacob- Mulumbu


Gera Long Brunt






El Ghanssy



My reason to start Long up front instead of Lukaku is because he will tire their defence with his pace and tireless running, also he is against his former club so he will be even more eager to score.

Bring Dorrans, El Ghassey and Lukaku on in the 2nd half to get at a poor tiring Reading defence.

My perdiction is a 3-1 win.

Come on you baggies!


Morning Jarrod,

To echo CR78 comments, thank you for finding the time to do the blog this week as I am one of those people who look forward to what you have to say about the Albion.

However I can’t 100% agree with your comments about shipping Odemwingie out in January. I fully understand your point about not wanting disruptive characters in the dressing room etc but I feel that it would be slightly hasty to sell our leading PL scorer on this basis. Don’t get me wrong PO has frustrated me on a number of occasions with his ‘ways’ but when he is good he is very good. If the bad begins to outweigh the good then maybe we should start looking at our options but until then he has to stay a WBA player in my opinion.

Now on to Saturday…….I’m interested to see who SC is going to start with, not just because of PO suspension but also I don’t think he would have been happy with the performance against Fulham regardless. We looked too open and exposed, especially down our right hand side so with that in mind I’m certain a fit Steven Reid will get the nod over Billy Jones. Also the midfiled, as always, will be key so I wouldn’t be too surprised to see a couple of extra bodies deployed there with a lone striker up front, whether that will be Long or Lukaku remains to be seen.

Anyway despite slipping to our first defeat last week we have had a very good start to the season, hopefully we can continue where we left off against Everton this weekend and put in a solid display with 3 points.


Bromham Baggie

I always enjoy reading your blogs Jarrod, they always give me pause for thought. I can't for the life of me understand why I thought of the name Danny Hegan while I was pausing. Maybe someone will enlighten me. My worry is an overconfident approach. I have a little song to the tune of Ghostbusters....." When you ain't won a a long, long time...Who'd you wanna play...West Bromwich" I know it's a bit negative, but I've supported the Baggies for a quite a while now.

CantelloRocket 78


Danny Hegan's a blast from the past,and some of the younger guys won't remember him.

From what I recall,we only got a handful of games off him before he somehow ended up at wolves.As a player,the opposition often lost sight of him-

come to think of it,off the pitch nobody could find him either,chances are he was in the nearest pub.

Someone interviewed him awhile ago,and they were told it was unlikely he'd be on time-

they were warned there was British Summer Time,Greenwhich Mean Time,and Danny Hegan Time.

George Best was pretty good at goin' missing,but Hegan was the Grand Master..........

Bromham Baggie

Thanks for that - maybe not one to put the club first, perhaps. I remember he scored a spectacular 40 yd drive early on in his time with us.

Jack ♣ Hat.


My selection for the Reading match:


Reid-----------------McAulay----------------------------Olsson ------------------Ridgewell





Bench: Myhill, Dawson, Jara Reyes, Dorrans, El Ghanassy, Long, Berahino.

Then rely on the twelfth man for their undeniable support as usual.



We got solbakken the club

Showin your age there ain't ya Jacko, typin in morse code. By the way you can't be the twelfth man by shouting down the radio.

Au revoir our kid...

CantelloRocket 78

Solbakken the obsessed-

I saw a post of yours on here very recently,saying you were stopping coming to the Baggies site,then two days later you re-appear.

Which confirms two things-

that you ARE obsessed with Albion,and that your word means diddly squatt.

But then again,we already knew that over here,didn't we?

Please wolves fans,can you send over somebody with a bit of class for a change?

Jack ♣ Hat.

Back in the Championship,

Sure did make a hack of it , gave me dashes in front of my eyes. Want to bet, my radio will power reaches the Hawthorns quite easily from my abode. I was born in the darkest year of world war two, but it was darker still being near Dinglehampton as you can imagine. All the best against the Borough, Oh I nearly forgot, "Ar bay yo'er kid bin I".




Reid McAuley Olsson Ridgewell

Mulumbu Yacob


Brunt Long Rosenberg

Subs: Myhill-Gk, Jones, Dorrans, Gera, El Ghanassy, Fortune, Lukaku.

Jack ♣ Hat.

Don't know what happened there guys but I know the Baggy-Boys will work my jumbled post out.

From the dark side:

Steven Ward implies the players in the Championship are not the same standard as those at wo1-Ves. Glad he told me, I would never have guessed.



Just had a horrible thought (and it wasn't cos i noticed bakken the championship had slid over here again) - no, I was reading SC's comments about our next sporting director needing to be someone he can work with, and a dreaded name entered my head - KING KENNY !!!!!!!

Can you imagine that miserable so-and-so rocking up at the Shrine ??

Jack ♣ Hat.


Try meditation for re-occurring day-mares, usually works mate, but I see where you are coming from☺☻. Mind you, a good win against Reading will be an instant cure; isn't it difficult to pick a side now with all this talent; bet "So back in the Championship" is bamboozled coming!, sorry being on here all the while, sometimes he manages to post on the Dingles site but not often. Any road you will lose your day-mares Saturday. Come on you BAGGIES.


Andover Baggie

Can't agree more with Darren Ferguson when he states that Wo1ve5 are the perfect Championship side!

Jack ♣ Hat.


....and will be for a few seasons yet mate.


Potto Baggie

PO probably had his head turned a bit by the apparent Qatar money but hes a Prem striker and for us even to consider shipping him out in January is frankly ludicrous. Fulham was a one off. If he plays he will score another 12-15 goals, which would be invaluable to us. Those fans who have been giving him grief need to wise up and get behind him. If they want to moan that much then they should go to Villa Park with their mates.

For the visit of Reading I would go 4-2-3-1


Reid McCauley Olsson Ridgewell

Yacob Mulumbu

Gera Morrison Brunt






El Ghanassy




Ridgers to go in goal if Ben gets injured!

Brummie roader Ryan

Picked the exact same team as me mate, we think alike ;)

Cyril Randle

Didn't see the Fulham Farce, at a superb wedding instead, pink champagne, 5 course dinner, you know, slumming it! I did get updates and did see the so-called highlights. Did we land on our heads or our bums? That we shall discover tomorrow. I would suggest a high pressure start, chase everything that moves. A team lacking wins and confidence won't want that because if we CAN get ahead, they have a mountain to climb. I refuse to join the Billy Jones 'out' calls. He has much to learn agreed, but he is talented and willing to learn. Expecting a young player to make up for a senior player's idiotic behaviour is somewhat unfair. He is also trying to adapt to a new head coach's ideas, (as our formidable midfield failed to do at Fulham). We do not need scapegoats who are doing their very best. If the lad plays tomorrow, encourage him.

Jack ♣ Hat.

Well all of us have chosen the same defence and midfield, so lets leave the forwards to Steve. ☺☻☺☻


CantelloRocket 78


I don't wanna be the odd one out,but I was hoping we'd have different full backs this week-

are Brendan Batson and Derek Statham still injured.......?


Evening all,

not posted much recently as after Fulham i felt really flat - back at work as well (school) and got mullered by the kids for the red card and the loss (some dingles are so sad) and DA leaving.. Great Blog though Jarrod and it has lifted my spirits ready for tomorrow!!

I think i would start with Lakaku and Gera ( Reid if fit but Jones if not - young kids needs us to support!)

If the balance was right in a 5-4-1 maybe find room for Brunt wide left but as Yacob and Mulumbu "sit" and we need Mozza behind the striker....Gera right side and Brunt left (or vice versa) ....mind you we have so many options i could talk myself into a tail spin really...

As for St Peter, i still believe that we are a better team / squad with him that without him as he has scored on a regular basis for us in the last 2 seasons. If the club let him go (for a very good price!) then i know we would have a good player lined up to replace and we do already have options within the club....just that he does offer us that great goal threat. SC, i'm sure, can make him play the way he wants.

Dear Stolen bread in the Championship.....i think lone wolf was better than you and he was annoying....maybe even Sid.....please give it a rest.



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